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A Reluctant Identity: The Development of Holo Identity in Contemporary Taiwan
Taiwan in Comparative Perspective,5, 2014, pp. 79-119.
Abstract (English) :
This paper traces the development of Holo identity in contemporary Taiwan by comparing two waves of disputes over the proper Chinese name for the Taiwanese Holo, in the 1950s and then in the 1990s. The first debate broke out in 1958 in the literary journal Taipei Wenwu, when Taiwanese Holo intellectuals strongly contested the usages ‘福佬’ (pronounced ‘Ho Lo’ in Taiwanese Holo, but
‘Fu lau’ in Mandarin), ‘ »河洛’ (again ‘Ho Lo’ in Holo, but ‘He Luo’ in Mandarin), and, to a lesser degree, ‘閩南’ (‘Min nan’). These debates occurred during a feverish period of study and recording of Taiwan’s languages, cultures, and customs that
developed before Taiwan was returned to Chinese rule in 1945. A close examination of the content and context of the 1958 debate indicates that its real and yet hidden agenda was in fact a clash of different national imaginations, and that it served as a proxy for dispute over views of Taiwan’s Chinese legacy at a time when hostility between Taiwanese and the newly arrived Mainlander migrants was still quite evident after the first turbulent decade of regime change. The debate ended unexpectedly without any conclusion: Holo intellectuals were unable to use the preferred term, ‘台灣話’ (‘Taiwan Hua’), and other names remained in use as a
The debate rose again from the late 1980s under a very different circumstance, when a new version of the Taiwanese national imagination was formally proposed by a substantial political opposition force. Ethnic tensions in the early 1990s impelled the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to propose an alternative ideal pattern of ethnic relations in its nation-building project: facing protests from other ethnic minorities, who accused the DPP of allowing a Holo chauvinism to develop among its over-enthusiastic supporters that equated ethnic Holo with national Taiwan in its national imagination, the DPP’s Holo members responded by
initiating a discourse of ‘Taiwan’s Four Great Ethnic Groups’. The 1994 debate over the proper Chinese name for the Holo ethnic group, which is still unresolved, indicated another dimension of Holo reluctance to accept a self-constrained identity imposed by others.
holo, Taiwan, identity, ethnic group
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